Medicaid plays a critical role in improving maternal health outcomes for Florida’s expectant mothers. Medicaid coverage provides access to care for women who would otherwise go without during and after their pregnancies. However, most eligible women in Florida lose coverage just 60 days after giving birth.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines the postpartum period as extending one year after the end of pregnancy. Florida’s current law leaves many new moms without coverage for the duration of the postpartum period.
On March 23, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers announced legislation to extend Medicaid coverage for pregnant women for one year after they deliver their babies. Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration found that the additional months of eligibility will apply to about 97,600 Florida women each year. According to Florida Politics, the $240 million extension will fall under a Medicaid Conforming Bill on the agenda in the Health Care Appropriation Subcommittee later this week. Most of the funding will come from pass-through funds from the federal government. The state will commit about $92 million.
This extension of Florida Medicaid’s postpartum period is different from the opportunity Florida has to expand Medicaid eligibility. Currently, it is extremely difficult to qualify for Medicaid in Florida. You must make less than a third of the federal poverty level and have a dependent child. That’s about $8K a year for someone in a family of three. Medicaid expansion would allow working, low-income single adults and parents making up to 133% of the federal poverty level.
Medicaid expansion would not only provide more benefits for women, it would also save the state nearly $200 million a year (Florida Policy Institute). Additionally, Florida would be eligible to receive $3-$3.5 billion under the American Rescue Plan if we choose to expand. These funds and savings would more than pay for a postpartum extension and other improvements to Florida’s health care system.
What can you do?
You can help make the Medicaid postpartum extension a reality in Florida by encouraging Sen. Aaron Bean, chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services to consider this proposal.
In one-click, send an email in support of the extension, while also reminding our legislators of the importance of Medicaid expansion.